History

The Gettysburg Address

The Gettysburg Address is one of the most famous speeches in American history. It was delivered by President Abraham Lincoln on November 19, 1863, during the American Civil War, at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The speech was delivered just four months after the bloody Battle of Gettysburg, which was a turning point in the Civil War. Lincoln’s address was intended to honor the soldiers who had died in the battle and to inspire the living to continue the fight for the Union.

The speech is short, but powerful, and is considered a masterpiece of American oratory. Here is the text of the speech in its entirety: “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

The Gettysburg Address has been praised for its eloquence, simplicity, and powerful message. It is remembered as a defining moment in American history, and its themes of sacrifice, dedication, and the preservation of democracy continue to resonate today.

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